Sunday, November 28, 2010

V Bar V Heritage Site

This is Part 2 of our adventures in Arizona a couple of weeks ago. From Montezuma's Well, we took a short drive down dirt roads to the V Bar V Heritage Site, the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley.

From the visitor center, the site is about a half mile hike through a lush, green landscape--like a high-desert jungle, overgrown with grasses, vines and trees all springing out of brick-red dirt. The entire surrounding area is undisturbed and undeveloped, so all you hear is silence, rustling leaves and the faint sound of running water.

The images were created by the Sinagua people between 900-1300 AD. This large panel has two turtle-like figures towards the top, which are identified as being symbols of the Water Clan--the official sun watchers of the Sinagua. A man named Kenneth Zoll observed the progress of the sun across the petroglyphs over the course of a year, and he makes a convincing argument that the site was used as a solar calendar for agrarian and ceremonial purposes. His book and website are called Sinagua Sunwatchers--learn more about the Sinagua, the V Bar V site and archaeoastronomy by clicking here.

Here's another photo. I'm drawn to the large birdlike figures. Maybe it's the Bird Clan? I don't find a reference to these in Zoll's book, but Bird Clan works for me!